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HQ 952930

February 25, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 952930 CC


TARIFF NO.: 6307.20.0000

David C. Frey
Production Manager
Clincher Gloves
5115 South Industrial Road
Suite 402
Las Vegas, NV 89118

RE: Classification of a flotation vest; life jacket; classifiable in Heading 6307

Dear Mr. Frey:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of October 19, 1992, requesting the tariff classification of a flotation vest from Taiwan, Hong Kong, or China. A sample was submitted for examination.


The submitted sample is a vest-type buoyancy device. The shell of the vest is composed of a neoprene foam laminated on both sides with a nylon knit fabric. A 14-inch long zippered opening is located on the inside of the lower back area of the shell to allow for the insertion of a plastic foam flotation material. The article has a front zipper closure, and three web- type belts with plastic buckles.

You state that this article is a personal flotation vest designed primarily for water skiing and general water sports. A warning label indicates that the vest should not be considered a safety vest or life preserver and should not be worn by anyone who cannot swim since the buoyancy factor is not sufficient to float a conscious or unconscious person in a "face out of water position." Despite this warning, the vest is capable of providing a degree of buoyancy sufficient to keep a person who has fallen in a body of water afloat.


Whether the submitted merchandise is classifiable as a life- jacket of Heading 6307 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA)?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 6307, HTSUSA, provides for other made up articles. According to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes, the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, at page 867, Heading 6307 covers made up articles of any textile material which are not included more specifically in other headings of Section XI or elsewhere in the Nomenclature and includes life-jackets and life- belts (emphasis added).

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 950496, dated March 5, 1992, we ruled on a buoyancy vest and stated the following:

The submitted merchandise is a made up article of textile material not more specifically provided for elsewhere in the Nomenclature; consequently, it is classifiable in Heading 6307. At the international level, subheading 6307.20 provides for lifejackets and lifebelts. The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, the Unabridged Edition (1983) defines the term "life jacket" as "a sleeveless jacket of buoyant or inflatable construction, for supporting the wearer in deep water and preventing him from drowning." The submitted jacket is capable of providing a degree of buoyancy sufficient to keep a person afloat. Although it does not meet the U.S. Coast Guard standards for life preservers, floating a conscious or unconscious person in a face out-of-water position, we find that the submitted merchandise meets the commonly accepted definition of a life jacket, and is therefore within the scope of the subheading at the international (6- digit) level of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. Consequently for tariff classification purposes, the submitted merchandise is provided for under subheading 6307.20, HTSUSA.

The merchandise at issue, although not meeting the U.S Coast Guard standards for life preservers, meets the commonly accepted definition of a life jacket. It is similar to the merchandise of HRL 950496 and therefore is classifiable as a life jacket under subheading 6307.20, HTSUSA.


The submitted merchandise is classified under subheading 6307.20.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up articles, lifejackets and lifebelts. The rate of duty is 9 percent ad valorem. No textile category is currently assigned to merchandise classified under this subheading.


John Durant, Director

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